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I Want to Be a Secretary


Published 1941


Follows a young woman through her clerical training and job search. Shows pre-World War II offices and office workers, primarily women. One of Coronet's earliest educational films.


Run time 15:51
Producer Coronet Instructional Films
Sponsor N/A
Audio/Visual Sd, B&W

Shotlist

DISCUSSES CLERICAL APTITUDES & POINTS OUT THE PREPARATION NEEDED BEFORE ONE CAN BECOME A SECRETARY.

Ken Smith sez: Great title, but the muddled soundtrack and bargain basement production of this early Coronet effort make it less satisfying than other Òcareer womanÓ films. The stilted interaction between the aspiring secretary and her various elders is okay, but nothing to write a memo about. This film's soundtrack was re-recorded when it was re-scripted and re-edited down to a 10-minute version in 1951. It was then remade in 1954 as the less-dogmatic Do I Want To Be A Secretary?

SECRETARIES CLERICAL WOMEN WORKERS CAREERS OFFICES EMPLOYERS LABOR HUMOR WORLD WAR II
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Reviews

Reviewer: JayKay49 - - December 21, 2011
Subject: Substance Abuse c.1941
The counselor has a hookah in his office and nobody says a thing about it.

The secretary is telling everybody "good morning" even though its 1:40 PM. How many martinis did she slosh down on her lunch hour? Keep it up toots you're gonna get a pink slip.

In my next life I think I wanta be a secretary and (God willing) ... have a big pair.

Great film.
Reviewer: Super YiaYia - - November 4, 2011
Subject: PC Reviewers Shut-Up - Fan
I'm with 'out of stone'

PS I have been an Admin Assistant/Secretary/sometimes slave for 18 years and it's been a BLAST!!!!!

YOU GO, OUT OF STONE...

MKR
Reviewer: TrollsRUs - - November 12, 2010
Subject: lol
This movie (especially in the first few scenes) feels like a set up to a bad porno.
Reviewer: Dee_Grooovy - - January 14, 2010
Subject: It's 1941 people.
The only careers available to women at that time were:

1. secretary
2. nurse
3. teacher
4. librarian
5. housewife

That's about it. Keep it in perspective, it's the 40s.
Reviewer: out of stone - - March 9, 2009
Subject: PC reviewers shut up
I'm tired of knee-jerk reviewers squealing "sexism!" at every opportunity. It's the usual suspects reviewing these public info films that feel a need to impress us with their politically correct social comments... They’re so vacuous.
Reviewer: patton3oh3 - - February 23, 2009
Subject: Wait...
I guess this was made before continuity was imported from France. Maybe it was Japan.

I thought they took the 1:40 bus.

But the secretary at the office is saying good morning to everyone on the phone.
Unless it's supposed to be 1:40am.
Reviewer: bestpbx - - May 30, 2008
Subject: Don't bother to apply if...
you are black. But, if you are white you can have this FUN job!
If you want a job that has real importance, though you must try to grow male genitalia. Perhaps hormone therapy might help.
Reviewer: Spuzz - - November 3, 2003
Subject: clack clack clack
Young June is uncertain about what sort of clerical job she wants to get into, so she and the commerical arts teacher pay a visit to Ms Lee, an office manager. One who knows her way around the office, but needs to learn a thing or two about hair styling. After getting a chat from her, June goes back to the guidance counsellor to find out she has many of the likes and dislikes many stenographers have. Happy that she's made up her mind, the camera fades out bizarrely at her blankly typing away. Clearly, one of the most amazing fade out shots ever seen.
Reviewer: Fireyfox - - September 9, 2003
Subject: A woman's place is in the typing pool
Good archive material recording the attitudes prevailing at the time. Really very sexist in an amusing way with some classically stupid quotes:

"The girls need supervision as the filing is quite complex..."

"You may even find a man doing this work but girls are preferred for routine tasks..."

June, highly personable, attractive, intelligent, and near on a straight A student, seems to be set on a routine career and the counsellor doesn't seem to object too much apart from suggesting she looks at some sec to the manger type openings. In today's world, someone like June would be heading to be the manager herself, an executive in publishing, or some high flying PR role.

The 1950's version was poorly dubbed and the acting quite stilted although that didn't really detract too much from the period atmosphere.

Incidentally, the blank stare from June at the end, as referred to by Redalicat, is typical of a touch typist studying the copy rather than the carriage or the keyboard. I don't think it's any indication of boredom, though in her case she should be destined for higher things.

It's a short film and worth watching.

William Fox
Reviewer: RedAliCat - - March 23, 2003
Subject: Bad Acting Theater meets The Typing Pool
Yes, you can train for carpal tunnel syndrome! This film is pretty dry, especially the incredibly bad acting (even for ephemeral film standards)! Miss Lee the boss appears to have a cinnamon bun for bangs, and Mr. Adams seems to have a perpetual scowl. I'm not sure which is more sad: all the adult women workers being called "girls" or the fact that "clerical" work has not really changed by 2003. June's cold, apathetic stare in the last 20 seconds seems to be a very accurate portrayal of the excitement that comes with being a secretary.
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